25 June 2013
Kentucky Town Of Manchester Illustrates National Obesity Crisis
This article was published in the Washington Post on July 12, 2010 by Wil Haygood. The article starts with Haygood’s description of the town of Manchester as a small town where everybody knows everybody. He mainly focuses on the not-so –healthy lifestyle of most of the people of this town. He interviews a few people to know more about this deep rooted problem t that exists for a long time. This family of three, father and 2 daughters, are the first to appear in his article, with accurate description of an overweight family. Haygood provides with statistic of the town when it comes to obesity by pointing out “The National obesity rate for adults is 24 percent; in Manchester and surrounding clay county, it’s been estimated to be as high as 52 percent. In a study of the healthiness of Kentucky’s 120 counties, Clay County ranked dead last, with 41 percent of the population classified as in poor or fair health.” He furthermore establishes a link between obesity and poor in fracture, with the town having no YMCA or department of Parks and Recreation or good healthy store which provide nutritional information. Haygood reports that at the intersection leading to the town features all the fast food joints. He even points out, what he calls “The Manchester Moments”, when he sees a family of overweight people entering Wendy’s and ordering a supersize meal. Haygood also meets Charlie Rawlins, who is an exception who hates fast food and what Haygood calls as “the town apostate”. After losing 66 pounds by eating fruits, salad, he realized he can do without the boxed meals from Wal-Mart. Another opinion was expressed by the local pharmacist, who argues that lot of people can do without the medication for conditions such as Type 2 diabetes, hypertension etc. to increase their longevity. Overall Haygood suggests that while being a small town can be a nice place to live, it can also be detrimental for one’s health.
I have mixed feeling about Haywood’s argument. He emphasizes that the obesity is high due to community in the town. He has described the problem of the people, where in fact, the problem is more due to lack to recreational facility and obesity awareness in the town, which is provided by the government. Although, I agree with Haywood when he tell the perspective of the “town apostate”, implying that it is still the individual’s responsibility to maintain his health. It is the parent’s responsibility to instill good healthy eating habits in their children and that comes through with the example of the Robinson Family with the father being obese and therefore the daughter have embraced the same lifestyle. If the government provides with some recreation facility and the town people make themselves aware of the healthy eating habits, this problem of obesity can be controlled. By glimpsing at the problem in this small town, we are, in fact, acknowledging that the problem has engulfed the whole country. The problem can solved with each of us -changing our eating habits and lifestyle and little bit of government involvement to curb the problem.